The most expensive colleges in the country

by Grace

The Education Department’s list of most and least expensive colleges came out earlier this year.

Some familiar names were on the list of most expensive schools.

Columbia University narrowly edged out Sarah Lawrence College — a perpetual contender on the list, and one that has defended its high tuition — for the most expensive tuition list price, at $45,290 in the 2011-12 academic year. Among four-year public colleges, the University of Pittsburgh surpassed Pennsylvania State University for the most expensive list price, at $16,132. And the most expensive net price (based on what students actually pay after financial aid) was the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, at $42,882, on a list dominated by colleges specializing in music and visual arts. These figures do not include room and board, books, or various fees, which at the most expensive private colleges can push a full year’s sticker price above $60,000.

The schools with the highest list prices are listed below.  Room and board, books, and fees must be added to these numbers to come up with the total cost of attendance.  Not surprisingly, these schools are concentrated in the northeastern part of the country.  These figures would apply to families that receive no scholarships or grants.



* Tuition and Required Fees, 2011-12

Go to the College Affordability and Transparency Center website for the complete lists, including those that show net prices..

Related:  States with the most and least affordable colleges (


4 Comments to “The most expensive colleges in the country”

  1. Sarah Lawrence has been at the top of the tuition heap since I was in college. Now that is a very long time!


  2. Are the public tuitions in-state? I wonder how the list changes for out of state?University of Vermont has long concentrated on out of state students who want to ski.


  3. These are all in-state.

    Wow. For OOS the Univ. of Vermont tution more than doubles: $34,656 (Updated # for this year.)

    IIRC, Vermont gives merit for OOS students.


  4. Sarah Lawrence is generous with need-based financial aid.


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